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Stanton man pleads guilty to burning child

June 6, 2012

A Martin County man was sentenced to 180 days in prison — with possibly another seven-and-a-half-years to serve after that — after pleading guilty to third-degree felony charges of injury to a child in 118th District Court this week.

Dominick Robert Peña, 24, of 706 N. Gray in Stanton, was indicted on a single charge during a February session of the Martin County grand jury stemming from a Nov. 8 incident that sent a 1-year-old child to the Martin County Hospital with second-degree burns over much of his body.

According to court officials, the plea agreement will require Peña to serve 180 days in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility prior to appearing before a judge again, at which time his behavior will be evaluated and determined whether he must serve an additional seven-and-a-half-years.

If Peña's behavior is satisfactory, however, court officials say he will be allowed to serve the seven-and-a-half-years as probation.

According to law enforcement reports, officers were called to the Martin County Hospital at approximately 7:10 p.m. after the child's mother brought him to the emergency room. Statements given by the woman indicate she had left the 1-year-old alone with her boyfriend, Peña, while she had gone to work.

She told officers that while she was at work, she received a phone call from Peña telling her the child had been burned. The child is believed to have suffered second-degree burns over much of his body, caused by scalding-hot water.

According to Shroyer, officers determined Peña immersed the child in scalding hot water. The child was airlifted to Lubbock's University Medical Center Burn Unit with first-degree and second-degree burns to approximately 14 percent of his body.

According to court records, Peña had a clean criminal record before the Nov. 8 incident.

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